25 Years of Open Heart Surgery

Cardiac surgery commenced at St Vincent’s in August 1993 and has continued steadily over the past 25 years.


The vision to plan and implement cardiac surgery began in the early 90’s with the then CEO Mr Antolovich, Medical Director John Clareborough and Cardiothoracic surgeon Mr Tony Wilson.

The first cardiac case was completed by Mr Tony Wilson; the Anaesthetist was Charles Domaingue, with nursing team Alison Rose - scrub nurse, Margaret Staff - scout and Carmel Funston -anaesthetic nurse and the perfusion team led by Keith Mason. Angela Wylie in ICU received this patient post procedure.

Implementation of cardiac surgery at St V’s Private necessitated a huge investment in learning and infrastructure. The Theatre Manager Joan Cooney and Cardiac scrub nurse Margaret Staff worked to establish the cardiac theatre and develop a team of nurses to cover theatres and On Call requirements. ICU and Coronary Care up skilling were equally as demanding and the entire staff roster of ICU nurses rotated through the Public ICU to build their skill levels. The Theatre and Cath lab team have maintained a 24 hour on call cover for all emergencies since the 1993.

On Friday 3rd October 2014, the 5000th cardiac surgical procedure - a Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Replacement procedure - was successfully completed by Associate Prof Andrew Newcomb and Mr Philip Davis with anaesthetist Dr Phillipa Hore. The referring cardiologist was Dr Andrew Wilson – son of Mr Tony Wilson.

The theatre team consisted of Bernardo Artillaga as scrub, Gemma Gulglielmi and Monica Slaviero as scouts, Vanda Lukin as anaesthetic nurse, Kate Lavender as theatre tech and Bruce Treagus was the perfusionist.

The Pastoral Care team have played an integral role in ensuring our patients well being is cared for. Sr Pat, as the primary Pastoral Care person for ICU and 9th floor, has shared the highs and lows with many patients and their families and has supported the medical and nursing team through these times as well.

There have been many changes in management of cardiac disease over the years and St Vincent’s Healthcare has been and will continue to be at the forefront of this both within the surgical field, interventional cardiac catheter lab, coronary care unit and ICU.